'Conversation Guide' to enhance evangelism

BALTIMORE (BP) -- A new tool to help Southern Baptists be more evangelistic through starting Gospel conversations was introduced to North American Mission Board trustees during their June 9 meeting in conjunction with the SBC annual meeting in Baltimore.

"For us to spur on what I hope will be an evangelistic emphasis for our convention, it is very important for us to come up with a pathway for churches to follow," NAMB President Kevin Ezell told trustees.

Ezell invited Jimmy Scroggins, lead pastor at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, Fla., to share the tool with trustees. Scroggins and his church developed "3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide" to share Christ with people regardless of their background.

"We wanted to come up with a way to talk to people who are far from God and don't have a biblical, Christian background," Scroggins said. "Even people who don't believe in God know that they have problems. What we figured out is that we've got to be able to talk to people from a variety of cultural backgrounds and take conversations about problems and turn them into conversations about Jesus."

Ezell said Scroggins and his church have enabled NAMB to use and distribute 3 Circles: Life Conversation Guide free of charge in both app and print versions. The tool currently is in the pre-order stage at www.namb.net/video/3circlesguide.

Also during the meeting, Ezell recognized Charles Roesel, pastor emeritus of First Baptist in Leesburg, Fla., who led the church to become a model for ministry evangelism during his tenure.

"He's been an ambassador and an advocate for the North American Mission Board when that wasn't necessarily a cool thing to do," Ezell said. "He's taken many bullets for us during our transition and for that I am grateful."

"I love you guys," Roesel said. "My passion is North America. And I am so thankful to have a great president like we have."

Trustees heard reports from each region of the United States and Canada about how NAMB's Send North America church planting strategy is progressing.

Carlos Ferrer, NAMB's chief financial officer, reported that year-to-date revenue at NAMB stands at $64 million with expenses at $76 million. This imbalance is temporary and typical for this time of year since income from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering usually does not peak until mid-summer.

"None of this ministry could happen if it wasn't for God's great provision and Southern Baptists' great generosity," Ferrer told trustees.

Trustee actions included:

-- approval of a fiscal 2014-15 operating budget of $121.5 million.

-- election of new officers: chairman, Chuck Herring, senior pastor of Collierville First Baptist Church in Collierville, Tenn., who had just completed two years of service as second vice chair; vice chairman, attorney Mark Dyer, a member of Parkway Hills Baptist Church in Plano, Texas; second vice chair, Stephen "Spike" Hogan, lead pastor of Chets Creek Church in Jacksonville, Fla. Officers are elected to one-year terms and may serve two terms in the same role if re-elected.

-- recognition of trustees whose terms are concluding: Rickey E. (Ric) Camp of Trussville, Ala., who served as vice chairman of the board for two years; Wesley R. Eader Sr. of Kalama, Wash.; Raymond L. Edge of Bastrop, Texas; Charlotte R. Gurney of Hooksett, N.H.; David R. Kehrer of Pflugerville, Texas; William S. (Scott) Moody of Silsbee, Texas; Ryan Palmer of Baltimore; and David Self of Houston. Corey L. McGee of Nikiski, Alaska, resigned before his term concluded.

Ezell gave special recognition to Douglass Dieterly who concluded two years of service as chairman of NAMB's trustees.

"We have been blessed for the last two years to have a chairman who has led us faithfully. It has been an incredible blessing in my life," Ezell said of Dieterly.

Dieterly told his fellow trustees, "There are not words to express how meaningful it has been in my life to be a part of the great work that the North American Mission Board is doing." Dieterly will continue serving as a trustee until June 2015.

"We are very excited about the days ahead," Ezell said in closing the meeting. "We are focused on evangelism. Church planting is evangelism -- that's at least what the apostle Paul thought. We just want to equip people to have the conversation. We've got to have more people making the conversation."


Mike Ebert writes for the North American Mission Board.

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